The importance of exercise in children

Movement is essential for children. But why is this actually so important?

If your child does not move, then your child is not healthy. And did you know that almost half of Dutch children do not get enough exercise?

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Exercise is good for everyone, but research by the Health Council shows that this is especially true for children. It goes without saying that it improves fitness and counteracts obesity. But what does this actually mean? And what are the other benefits of moving?

The benefits of moving

  • Improves fitness. If your child sports and/or moves a lot, your child will automatically become fitter. This means that endurance, speed, strength, coordination and technique improve.

  • Lowers the risk of depressive feelings. By moving enough, the body is better able to process negative emotions. Sports and exercise stimulate the production of endorphins, these are chemicals in our brain that make us feel happier!

  • Greater self-esteem. Movement has a very positive effect on your child's mental state and it ensures that self-confidence grows.

  • Strengthens bones and muscles. The more exercise you get, the more powerful and stronger your body becomes. Your child also works on muscle and bone health by drinking the Kindershake , because the shake is full of proteins, calcium and vitamin D!

  • Improves motor skills and coordination. This means that by moving more, your child will become more flexible and handy.

  • Reduces or prevents diabetes. Sports and exercise improves insulin sensitivity in children, which ensures that the blood sugar level is maintained.

  • Reduces/prevents overweight and obesity. You burn more calories by moving than when you sit or stand. It is therefore the ideal way to work on a healthy weight.

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How much should my child exercise?

Children between the ages of 4 and 18 should do at least one hour of moderately intensive exercise per day. By moderately intensive exercise we mean movement in which the heart rate just goes up slightly. This is not intensive sports, but for example walking, playing or cycling (make sure you do not walk or cycle very slowly). And take the tasty Kindershake while exercising, ideal for that extra bit of energy!

The Importance Of Exercise In Children

In addition to the above advice, the Health Council also advises children to do bone and muscle strengthening activities at least three times a week. By this we mean, for example, playing football, running, dancing, jumping or strength exercises (strength exercises for children never with weights but only with their own body weight, so for example sit-ups).

In this way, your child works on building and maintaining muscles and bones. Strengthening the bones occurs during activities such as jumping and running, which put a load on your own weight.

How do I get my child to exercise more?

  • Go cycling more. Do you ever use the car to go to school, the supermarket or sports lessons, for example? Then try to switch this to as many bike rides as possible!

  • Playing outside. This is of course possible in a playground nearby, but also in the garden or on the street. A ball, a hoop or a pair of rollerblades and your child can be entertained for hours!

  • Create rules around screen time. Due to digitization, children are moving considerably less. So make rules for this, for example half an hour a day of television or on the iPad. If the possibility of looking at a screen for hours a day is not there, your child will have to get creative to come up with other ways of entertainment.

  • Register your child with a sports club. This way you have a fixed day (or days) in the week that your child is guaranteed to get exercise and it is good for social contacts!

  • Lead by example. This is perhaps the most important. By setting a good example yourself, your child unconsciously adopts this behavior (this also applies to later!). For example, take the bike when possible or go shopping on foot.

Exercise is good, more exercise is better! It is important for every child to sit still as little (much) as possible. So less on the iPad, more outside!

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